The Hardest Stage of La Vuelta 2023

The Hardest Stage of La Vuelta 2023
La Vuelta 2022

La Vuelta takes place over twenty one days, places plenty of challenges on the riders, but the most difficult day is colloquially known as the "Queen" stage. Usually it's not explicitly stated as the Queen stage, and more implicitly known, but race organizers do sometimes explicitly state it. There is often debate among pundits about which stage should claim the crown of the hardest stage. This year's La Vuelta offers up two potential stages, one of which we've settled on, but we're more than happy to provide the runner up award to the other.

We used our analysis from the top ten hardest climbs of La Vuelta to procure the results. Feel free to check them our here.

The Hardest Climbs La Vuelta 2023 | Pro Cycling Bets
We offer up analysis on the hardest climbs of cycling’s La Vuelta 2023, which days they occur on, and our pick for the Queen stage.
Astana Khazakstan rider in La Vuelta 2022 on the limit

Queen Stage

This year's crown goes to Stage 13 which occurs on September 8th. Riders partake in 4282m of elevation game and  start on a climb of 4.5km @ 5.5%. They then descend for 28km only to begin immediately climbing their first "especial" climb of Col d'Aubisque (16.6km - 7%). They have a small climb of Col du Soulor of 2.1km @ 5% after that followed by Col de Spandelles, a categorized one climb of 10.4km @ 8.1%. Phew that's steep.

Finally, after a valley and some reprieve they face the well known Col du Tourmalet which is 18.8km @ 7.4%

Col d'Aubisque

Tapping in at almost 17km. The first especial climbs the riders face is absolutely massive. Consistent though, with the first few kilometers relatively simple at an average of around 5% before kicking up to around 8% for the 2nd half.

Col de Spandelles

The third of the categorized climbs (*cough* there should be more climbs that are categorized in our opinion) - Col de Spandelles while shorter than Aubisque is most certainly steeper with kickers of above 10% in there.

Col du Tourmalet

The well known Tourmalet graces the riders at the finish. Almost 19km in total length, this absolute beast just keeps getting harder right until the top. You're looking at a good fifty plus minutes of climbing for some riders.

Imagine having to do all three of these climbs, plus the starting climb, all on a single day. Should be no surprise we selected this as the Queen stage.

Runner Up

The runner up arrives the following day on September 9th and could be that much harder given the riders had to swallow all of yesterday's elevation. And today's elevation is even worse, clocking in at 4565m within the 161km of today's stage.

At the 70km marker they face the first one, Col Hourcère -  11.6km @ 8.3%, a valley and then the second especial Puerto de Larau - 15km @ 7.8%, starting with the first 10.3km on Col d'Erroymendi of 10.3km @ 9.1%.

After a fast descent they face a relatively easy climb of 3.2km @ 5.8%, then 25km of flat before starting a category one Larra-Belagua - 9.4km @ 6.3% where they finish at the top.